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Water treatment company officials assure Sherrodsville residents they will be good neighbor

By Carol McIntire

About 40 Sherrodsville residents took advantage of the opportunity to learn about changes taking place in their small village last week.

The group met in the Lions Club with officials from Rettew Flowback Inc. (RFI), a firm setting up a water treatment facility on the former Lincoln and Things property on SR 39 just west of Dave’s Diner. Iron Eagle purchased 3.12 acres of land at the site and contracted with RFI to recycle water used in the hydraulic fracturing process of oil and gas wells. Iron Eagle owns a trucking company, which will be hauling the water into the plant. Iron Eagle officials were unable to attend the meeting due to a family emergency.
RFI is no stranger to Carroll County or the oil and gas business.

The company operated a water treatment facility for Chesapeake Energy on the Shaw oil and gas well pad east of Carrollton for about nine months, according to Chris Foreman, RFI director of Water Treatment.

Foreman and Ryan Mastowski, RFI site manager and an engineer in training, fielded a variety of questions from residents. Mayor Ken Moffat organized the meeting and asked that questions be kept within three areas: Day-to-day operations, safety and emergency response. He kicked off the session by outlining plans for Sherrodsville Community Fire and Rescue, Sherrodsville Volunteer Fire Department Inc. and the village’s ambulance service to develop an emergency response plan.

“We want to come up with a game plan so if we have an emergency, we know what’s there,” said Moffat. “These agencies are working together on a plan to keep our community safe.”

Foreman outlined the day-to-day operations of the facility. “Nearly every drop of water that comes into the facility goes back out to be used again in the hydraulic fracturing process,” he said. “We already made arrangements with landfills to dispose of the sludge materials.”

The company has filed for all necessary permits with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, which regulates such operations. Foreman said regulations are becoming more stringent, which is good for communities and neighbors. “It took us about three weeks to obtain our permits at the Shaw pad and bout four months to secure the permits for the Sherrodsville site,” he noted. 

The facility can handle 2,000 to 4,000 barrels (42 gallons in each barrel) per day initially and at full capacity will be able to recycle between 12,000 and 16,000 barrels per day.

Plans are to operate a 12-hour shift initially from 6 a.m. until 6 p.m. However, he noted the trucking operation will operate 24 hours per day and someone will be on site at all times.

Initially, the plant will provide jobs for 6-8 people with that number expected to grow to 20-22 when operations are “ramped up.” “We want to hire local residents,” Foreman said. That will be accomplished by hosting job fairs and placing posters in local post offices. The facility will have the capacity to store 20,000 barrels of water at any one time on the property, but Foreman said he doesn’t anticipate this happening because the water is brought in, recycled and sent right back out to mixed with fresh water and used again at well sites.

Resident Dave Morgan asked if there would be any unpleasant odors, noise from trucks or any chance of groundwater contamination.

Foreman, said there shouldn’t be any odors emitted from the plant; yes, there will be some noise from truck traffic but little from the plant as they have converted pumps from diesel to electric, and there is only a very slim chance of any groundwater contamination.

“The water coming from the wells is non-hazardous,” Foreman explained. “There are some hydrocarbons, but a very small amounts. There is no lead or nickel. Bariums and sulfate are the main things in the water.”

He explained when the water arrives at the plant, it is classified as brine and when it leaves it is still classified as brine so it does not enter the clean water system.

Foreman said the company is placing a line of tanks between the plant and the main highway to help minimize noise and lighting concerns.

Keith Imes expressed a concern about increased truck traffic in the area.

Foreman said there could be six to eight trucks on site at any given time and each truck is capable of hauling 100 barrels of water.

“Traffic is going to increase; there’s no doubt about it,” Foreman said. “We are using Crane Rd. for an entrance instead of SR 39. We can also park three trucks on Orange St. and plan to talk to the owners of property across the street to see if we can use that area to park trucks if necessary. We also did a preliminary study and found there is no need for a traffic light.”

Councilwoman Janet Pearch asked how long the company plans to “be around.”

Foreman said RFI has a one-year contract with automatic renewal for five years.

“Why Sherrodsville?” asked Sherrodsville Community Fire and Rescue Chief Terry Sanders.

“Because it is the heart of gas country,” replied Foreman.

Robert Higgenbotham said he spoke with Bryan Shaw, owner of the property where the Shaw pad is located and was told by Shaw he would not like to have the plant beside his home because of the noise and trucks. Higgenbotham also said he was unhappy officials from Iron Eagle were not in attendance at the meeting.

Foreman noted the Shaw well site was an active well pad and they were limited as to what they could do with the set up, adding the plant was set up outside.

“Here we are putting everything in buildings and are setting the site up to minimize the effects on the community. You will see trucks and you will hear pumps.”

Plans are to have the plant operational by the end of November. 

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